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Subject: Not a review - just a correction
At 45:11, there is a man assembling clips (texts) for a "kult-anketa" (transliterated, obviously). The caption in English says: CULT REVIEW (without a hyphen).
Now, I do not speak Russian, but I do know just enough - and certainly enough about the times - to suspect that the "kult" from the original is simply an abbreviation of "kultura" (culture). It is a CULTURE REVIEW - or, more accurately, CULT-REVIEW (with a hyphen; however, even with a hyphen it would probably be too misleading for an English speaking viewer).
It may seem like a minor quibble - and it is - but since most of the other captions have been translated, I thought I should point it out.
Also, I wonder why the inscription on the box atop of the bicycle that a boy is seen driving - insistently so - in the early part of the film has not been translated, considering that so many other inscriptions were.
The inscription on the box says MAIL.
He is a postman... well, postboy. :)
Subject: Alloy Orchestra
The Alloy Orchestra score - which is based on Vertov's original directions for the music - is much more powerful and dynamic than Nyman's minimalism, and fits the images much better. There's a DVD version available in the USA.
There isn't a UK version, but there is a Region 2 version from Arte TV, available in French. 'L'homme a la camera'. I got mine shipped to the UK from Amazon.fr (you need to understand French to go through the ordering process).
Subject: Ruttman is a follower of Vertov
Oh, I just can't keep silence! How can you blame Vertov in plagiarism! It is well known that Dziga Vertov was a pioneer in this genre of movie making and that were his early experimental works that have influenced Walter Ruttmann and other artists of Neue Sachlichkeit. Look for the same info on Wikipedia:
"Some have mistakenly stated that many visual ideas, such as the quick editing, the close-ups of machinery, the store window displays, even the shots of a typewriter keyboard are borrowed from Walter Ruttmann's Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, which predates Man with a Movie Camera by two years, but as Vertov wrote to the German press in 1929, these techniques and images had been developed and employed by him in his Kino-Pravda newsreels and documentaries for the last ten years, all of which predate Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. Vertov's pioneering cinematic concepts actually inspired other abstract films by filmmakers like Walter Ruttmann".
As for the music, in my opinion, Nyman's variant is much better that others, because it is in many ways so close to the energetic and rhythmic atmosphere of the Soviet reality in the 20ies! I absolutely love Nyman's version and highly recommend it for those who watch the film for the first time.
Subject: Michael Nyman
A Wonderful Film.
I notice that the soundtrack by Michael Nyman is not listed here. I would highly recommend listening listening to it. This soundtrack is miles ahead of all of the others.
Subject: Image Feast
Having been fooled in the past by over-praised silent films, I didn't expect to be impressed by this one. I certainly was wrong. Not only groundbreaking in its technique, fifteen minutes into this amazing movie watching it almost becomes a hypnotic experience. As images both complementary and contrasting flash across the screen, you become engrossed not only by how the images are presented, but with their content as well. Because along with everything else, this unique film is a fascinating look at metropolitan Soviet life post revolution, yet before the era of Stalin’s suffocating total control. As with a visit to a great museum, you can't take in all of this remarkable film in just one viewing. FOOTNOTE: By a strange coincidence, less than two years earlier a different experimental film maker shot a similar documentary about city life in pre-Hitler Berlin, Walter Ruttman’s excellent “Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.” It also is highly recommended and available here at the Archive. Knowing the tragedies that were to engulf both cities, the parallels between the two films become more than a little eerie.
B-Movie Ben -
Subject: Honesty and perfection
Writer-director Dziga Vertov gained his skills during the Russian Civil War filming the red Army and showing the footage in villages and towns. This experience, combined with his association with those of the Cine-Eye, resulted in this outstanding production that was fascinating, innovative, and a captivating tale not only of Soviet life, but a praise to the Soviet system.
The film starts in the morning as the city (predominately Moscow, but others as well) awakens and people start to get ready to work. It follows the citizens through the day, and into the evening. It is non-linear. it does jump back and forth, but that only adds to the view. It shows birth and death, marriage and divorce, and, more importantly, the progress of life in the Soviet Union. We see manual sewing give way to the sewing machine, manual cigarette packaging transformed by machines, the abacus replaced by cash registers; all this to allow the citizens a more satisfying work experience so they can enjoy life after work and go to the shores on the weekend.
There are many techniques in this film: slow motion, animation, multiple-images, split-screens, zooms and reverse zooms blurring focus and freeze frames. It is not only a work glorifying the Soviet Union, but a textbook o0n film-making.
It is not only the camera work that is spectacular, but Vertov's wife did a spectacular job of editing. The sports segments were extremely imaginative in the way they were edited, as was the rest of the film.
It is a masterpiece that stands the test of time.
Subject: Soundtracks - multiple
There are many professional soundtracks available. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_with_a_Movie_Camera#Soundtracks for details.
1984 Producciones -
Subject: THANK YOU!!!!
It´s, maybe, the most creative movie of the cinema begginings.
Vertov do a Jump in the edition theory.
This is the old version but in 2002 The Cinematic Orchestra it created an OST for this movie, and if you can see this with the new music, the spectacle is wonderful.
Subject: LA MEJOR PELICULA
ES UN EXCELENTE MATERIAL EXPERIMENTAL DE LOS MEJORES DE LA VIEJA ESCUELA
Subject: somebody must be genious...?:)
i don't no if somebody read this reviews here, well, i've just read and was quite surprised with the note that "Man with a Movie Camera" isn't that original at all and even was plagiarized from "Berlin: Symphony of a great city". and so i decided to find out more (downloading "Berlin" in the mean time). actually, don't get me wrong, "Man.." now has fresh huge impact on me, i'm quite stunned, thinking that Vertov was an "ordinary" genious, that simply forestall his time. by the way, i'm from Ukraine, where "Man.." was filmed) still, here some quotes of what i've found - "Berlin review": "the film was heavily influenced by the earlier works of Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov", "it's hard to top Dziga Vertov's The Man With a Movie Camera, released two years after this film."..
well, regarding the main idea of director Vertov - it's very hard to accomplish - to show life as it is. As it's just like in quantum mechanics: observer make impact on the object studied, and not simply by presence, but rather by this "so human" subjective seduction to find sense, to rationalize, to show someone's artistic view, rather than pure life of others. Say, imho, "Man.." in this respect maybe even better than modern films like, say, "Baraka".. As for Cinematic Orchestra soundtracking - it's actually one of my favourite bands and their album was the original motivation to find the film itself - well, CO made some really good job, but they are just talented=) - as i understand the original idea of music was to make it's floating under the human rush, as clouds in the sky.. but actually music at times "overfloat" the film, bluring sharp small details.. it's just to "cotton wooled", "clean", "safe" maybe... still the final scene is just greatly "sounding"!)
Subject: Modern Soundtrack is Available
Haven't watched the movie just yet, so can't comment on it. But a modern soundtrack was recorded just a few years ago and it is excellent. My rating, therefore, is only in regards to this soundtrack.
"Man with a Movie Camera" is the fourth album by The Cinematic Orchestra. It is the soundtrack to a re-released version of the (then ground-breaking) 1929 silent documentary film, Man with a Movie Camera from Russian director Dziga Vertov. The Cinematic Orchestra were commissioned to record the score to play as the opening event in Porto, Portugal's year as European Capital of Culture in 2001.
Subject: Not all that original
When I saw this film I thought it was quite stunning, both in itself and for its time. But then I saw "Berlin: Symphony of a Great City" (which predates this film by a year or so) a few days later and realized how much has been plagiarized. The trains, the shop window displays, the machinery mechanisms, even the close-ups of the typewriter keyboard are all just too similar to be coincidence.
Watch it for the documentary view of early Soviet life, but don't take it as ground breaking